Chapter 5: SMSU as a Connected Organization
As the University models lives of service through official
programs and volunteer services not sponsored officially by the University, Missouri State serves its external constituents in numerous ways. As the previous section
noted, goals to serve external constituents exist in mission statements and
long-range plans. One of the more important aspects of the fulfillment of these
goals and plans occurs as a result of listening to these constituents and
responding to their needs. The numerous centers described previously,
for example, were not created merely at the whim of the institution, but instead
because of needs recognized within the communities each serves.
Criteria and Core Components supported in this section include 2a, 2c, 5a, 5b, 5c.
One example from the past ten years that illustrates how
external constituents’ feedback causes the University to analyze and to change
its plans occurred with the University’s physical expansion. As residents and
property owners to the south of campus complained about the encroachment of
University buildings and parking lots upon their neighborhood, SMSU made a
critical decision to curb expansion in that direction. Instead, the University has expanded to
the north and west, revitalizing existing structures, such as the Professional Building, and building new ones, such as the Cherry Street Park and Ride facility
and the Physical Therapy Building. (The University’s
provides an overview.) Most significant during this expansion process has been
the development of the Downtown Campus, created by the purchase, lease, and
renovation of buildings in downtown Springfield. The Alumni Center, the Art and Design Gallery, the Jim D. Morris Center for Continuing Education, the Theatre Department Support Center, the Park Central Office Building, the Holland Building, and the Levy-Wolf Building are linked to the central campus by shuttle service.
Collectively, these facilities and the shuttles do more than simply bring
students into downtown Springfield. The presence of Missouri State in the area contributes to the city’s efforts to revive downtown Springfield, reinvigorating
the center city with vibrancy and commercial viability.
The Downtown Campus has contributed to Springfield’s efforts to reinvigorate the center city with vibrancy and commercial viability.
Such responses to constituents occur through diverse means
of effective communication: formal advisory committees, employer surveys, and
Web sites that encourage feedback (such as the
feedback site, and the
Residence Life and Services feedback site). This communication often takes the University out
of an isolated comfort zone and into areas of service not previously envisioned.
Additional examples of Missouri State’s dynamic engagement with its external constituents include
- The Center for Social Science and Public Policy Research
(CSSPPR)—Over the past decade, the CSSPPR, housed in the College of Humanities and Public Affairs, has served a wide range of external constituents. Among
its activities, for example, was a poll
conducted for the Missouri Catholic Conference on Missouri residents’
opinions on the death penalty.
projects by the Center also serve constituents.
- Two-Year Institutions—Missouri State has worked
proactively with community colleges in Missouri and surrounding states to
facilitate transfer students’ moves. In collaboration with these institutions,
the University has created “articulation agreements” that assist in the transfer
of credits from one institution to the other. Information about transferring
credit is available to incoming students and to advisors via the
Equivalency page and the
Transfer Credit pages
of the Missouri State Web site. Evidence of the
University’s work with community colleges and success in enrolling transfer
students can be found in the performance measures. In some cases, such as with
education and business majors at West Plains and general agriculture majors at
Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri (80 miles from Springfield), the
collaboration has resulted in the development of specific “2+2” types of programs.
These programs allow students in the service regions of two-year institutions
to complete a Missouri State degree on the campus of the two-year institution.
Additionally, a number of
departments are working together to provide a
seamless transition for students moving
from Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC), the University’s primary “feeder
school,” to Missouri State. For example, chemistry students from OTC visit
as a class field trip to meet the Chemistry faculty and tour the department. This
visit helps students with the transition to the much larger Missouri State campus.
- Process Improvement Committee (PIC)—As described in Chapter 3, the PIC Committee exists “to examine, improve, and, when appropriate, eliminate or radically change
the University's fundamental processes.” In 2001 the Committee initiated a
“horizon scanning” effort to obtain feedback from local business and education
leaders regarding their perceptions of the University and the opportunities and
challenges that the future holds.
- TRIO/Upward Bound program—The Division of Student Affairs
administers an Upward Bound grant
that serves 50 local high school students by assisting them “in developing the
skills and motivation necessary for participants to complete their secondary
education and to enroll in and complete a program of postsecondary study.”
- K-12 partnerships—A number of K-12 partnerships
exist through the College of Education. Additionally, because secondary
education at Missouri State is based within all other colleges and discipline-specific
departments, many other partnerships exist between Missouri State and secondary schools. For example, The Center for Scientific Research and Education,
within the College of Natural and Applied Science, houses the Missouri Virtual School. This “school” teaches
online science, mathematics, French, and Spanish classes to high schools in Missouri who do not have certified teachers in these areas or enough enrollment to justify on-site
classes. In addition, some service-learning students in CNAS use their talents
in area middle schools by helping with science clubs and preparing labs for
- The Child Development Center (CDC)—Located on the Springfield campus, the CDC serves the community, faculty, staff, and students by providing
high quality child-care services for children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age.
The center is open year round, with full-day programs. In addition to child-care
programs, the CDC is a practicum site for many students in the Early Childhood
Education and Child and Family Development programs.
- Advisory Committees—Many units have
committees whose purposes include reviewing curriculum, fundraising,
administering scholarships, setting up internships, and providing feedback on
ways the unit can better serve their constituents.
- Employer surveys—The Center for Assessment and
Instructional Support conducts a survey of employers every five years in
fulfillment of one of the published
Performance Measures. The
Career Center also surveys employers
regarding their needs and uses feedback from an employer advisory board to
enhance its information and service to both students and employers.
- Chamber of Commerce—Since 1995 the University has
continued to develop a strong relationship with the
Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
Fostered in part by an alumnus, who is the Chamber’s CEO, and the University’s
Vice President for Research and Development, who is also a Chamber Board
Member, the collaboration has appeared most recently in the development of the
Downtown Campus and in the University’s China program.
- Distance Learning—Missouri State serves constituents and
collaborates with them through several formats of “distance learning”:
- Ozarks Public Television
reaches a 57-county area with digital and analog signals.
- KSMU provides National
Public Radio access to the Springfield area.
an interactive television network, provides access to most of Southwest
Missouri Pathways Partnership is a collaborative effort between Missouri State, Missouri State—West Plains, and Crowder College. These institutions have
formed a higher- education cluster to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science in
Agriculture Degree. Courses are delivered online as well as through ITV and
- The Viticulture and Enology
Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) is a partnership between Missouri State University, Missouri State-West Plains, Northeast Iowa Community College, Shawnee Community College in Illinois, the Mid-America Viticulture &
Enology Center, state agricultural agencies, vineyards, and wineries to
promote research and education in grape growing and winemaking.
- The Missouri Virtual School provides distance education courses in partnership with K-12 schools across
the state. Courses range from regular middle/high school courses to
pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement courses or dual-credit university
courses offered in cooperation with Continuing Education.
- The BEARS (Beginning
Educator Assistance Renewal and Support) Program, sponsored by the College of Education, provides professional development for beginning educators. The
program offers free seminars monthly on the Springfield campus and to off-campus
sites in Joplin, Mountain Grove, and West Plains through interactive television.
Topics vary but include time management, classroom management, technology, and
subject areas such as mathematics, science, and reading. Sessions are free.
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